Honors Project Summaries, 2017-2018

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Anthropology

Writer: Bernard Lilly, Jr.
Faculty Advisor: Lavanya Murali Proctor
Topic: Can I Have This Dance?: Black American Student Experiences at Predominantly White Institutions
Summary:

My project explores the relationship between blackness, institutionalized racism, and student success at Predominantly White Institutions (PWIs). This project was inspired by my desire to understand Black American college student experiences at a PWI and discover whether they struggle with adjusting to life there. If so, do their struggles have implications for student success and retention?  This study will focus on how Black American students navigate social and academic life at a PWI. Using a range of ethnographic methods including questionnaires, interviews, oral history, participant observation, and focus groups, and drawing on the concept of the hidden curriculum (Massialis 2001) to describe how the experiences of Black American students at this PWI affect their social and academic life.

 

Anthropology

Writer: Hailey Bomar
Faculty Advisor: Brenda Jenike
Topic: Understanding Zika Virus in Rural Costa Rica
Summary:

 

 

Biology

Writer: Hanwenheng (Billy) Liu
Faculty Advisor: Elizabeth De Stasio
Topic: Mapping Out the Head Country: Expressions of daf-19C in Head Neurons of c-elegans
Summary:

C. elegans has been used as a model system for studies of nervous system development and function for over 50 years due to its relative simplicity and strong similarity to other animals. One of such similarities is the presence of an RFX transcription factor, which is responsible for ciliogenesis in a handful of important organs, such as the brain. RFX proteins are a family of highly evolutionarily conserved proteins that usually function by binding to a specific region (called the X-box) in the promoter of their target genes. A single RFX-coding gene has been found in C. elegans, called daf-19. The function of DAF-19 proteins thus far identified include regulating innate immunity and ciliogenesis. The daf-19 gene encodes four related proteins, or isoforms: DAF-19A, B, C, and M. In this study, we fully characterize the expression pattern of the DAF-19C isoform through the use of fluorescently labeled protein, confocal fluorescence microscopy, and neuron maps. We report that DAF-19C is expressed in at least 48 ciliated neurons and 8 non-ciliated neurons in the head. However, we did not look into the tail neurons.

 

Biology

Writer: Cady Greenslit
Faculty Advisor: Israel Del Toro
Topic: Bumble Bee Genetics in the Midwest
Summary:

 

 

Economics

Writer: David Brooker
Faculty Advisor: Jonathan Lhost
Topic: The Political Framing of Public Policies: An Analysis of Act 10 in Wisconsin
Summary:

Political framing of public policy is typically different than the actual effects of the policy. In the case of Act 10 there was an extremely negative perception from teachers in the state of Wisconsin especially when it came to their salaries despite little empirical difference in salaries. Wisconsin’s Act 10, which altered the state’s public-sector collective bargaining laws, provides a natural experiment to test the political framing of public policy. A survey was conducted of teachers across the state of Wisconsin to determine their opinions regarding Act 10 and salary data from Wisconsin and Missouri were collected for comparison. It was found that most teachers believe that Act 10 negatively affected their salaries, unions make them better educators, and Act 10 was incredibly negative for teachers in Wisconsin. This empirical work establishes a disconnect between the perceived impacts of Act 10 and the actual impacts as teacher salaries in Wisconsin have not decreased following the legislation despite strong beliefs of the contrary.

Government

Writer: David Brooker
Faculty Advisor: Arnold Shober
Topic: The Political Framing of Public Policies: An Analysis of Act 10 in Wisconsin
Summary:

Political framing of public policy is typically different than the actual effects of the policy. In the case of Act 10 there was an extremely negative perception by teachers in the state of Wisconsin especially when it came to their salaries despite little empirical difference in salaries. Wisconsin’s Act 10, which altered the state’s public-sector collective bargaining laws, provides a natural experiment to test the political framing of public policy. A survey was conducted of teachers across the state of Wisconsin to determine their opinions regarding Act 10 and salary data from Wisconsin and Missouri were collected for comparison. It was found that most teachers believe that Act 10 negatively affected their salaries, unions make them better educators, and Act 10 was incredibly negative. Whatever their perception of their own quality, Act 10 did not seem to impact to their salary negatively, one mark of teacher quality.

 

 

History

Writer: Logan Kilsdonk
Faculty Advisor: Edmund Kern
Topic: The Thirty Years War(s)
Summary:

The Thirty Years War, spanning 1618-1648, has been described as the last great war of religion despite pitting Catholics against Catholics and Protestants against Protestants. In addition to religion not playing the role it is supposed to have, a closer look at the motives and goals of the major participants reveals that what we have called a single war is actually much more easily understood as four: The Bohemian Rebellion (1618-1624), Denmark's War with the Emperor (1625-1629), Sweden's War with the Emperor (1630-1648) and France's War with the Habsburgs (1635-1648/59). These four wars are related and sometimes overlap, but they remain nonetheless distinct.

 

Jazz and Improvisational Music

Writer: Adam Friedman
Faculty Advisor: José Encarnación
Topic: Tracing Origins: The Impact of West African Music Around the World
Summary:

The popularity and universal reach of music genres such as Jazz and Hip Hop attest to the idea that these forms have been long established as a vital part of global musical culture.  For people who are familiar with Afrocentric music, it is clear that styles such as Jazz and Hip Hop are rooted in, and inextricably linked with, African culture and history.  What is more difficult to make sense of, however, is how and why transplanted African culture came to have such wide reaching impact in the new contexts in which it was taken up – because the stories behind the history are long and fragmented.

This project serves to add a voice to the conversation by offering a unique perspective that comes from the musical experiences I have had at Lawrence University and while studying abroad in Ghana and Cuba.  By drawing on these specific experiences, and relevant scholarship in this field, this project aims to describe how West African music has impacted sacred and secular music in South America, catalyzing a rich and complex cultural exchange between Cuba, Brazil and the United States. In addition to the research completed for this paper, a live performance has been orchestrated in order to highlight the connections between musical styles from these cultures and demonstrate how influences are exchanged.

 

Jazz and Improvisational Music

Writer: Nathan Montgomery
Faculty Advisor: Dane Richeson
Topic: A study of Afro-Cuban folkloric music: Santería in a Globalized World
Summary:

The Yoruban people of modern-day Nigeria worship many deities called orishas by means of singing, drumming, and dancing. These aurally preserved artistic traditions are intrinsically connected to both religious ceremony and everyday life. These forms of worship traveled to the Americas during the colonial era through the brutal North Atlantic slave trade and continued to evolve beneath racist societal hierarchies implemented by western European nations. Despite severe oppression, Yoruban slaves in Cuba were able to disguise orishas behind Catholic saints so that they could still actively worship in public. This initial guise led to a synthesis of religious practice, language, and artistry that is known today as Santería.
Though continually repressed by multiple regimes, increased accessibility of information, ease of travel, and an explosion of tourism have catapulted Santería into the global religious conversation. With practitioners around the world, Santería is a truly international religion that deserves to be studied and respected. With it comes an incredible artistic tradition that both preserves the history of an oppressed people and their indigenous ties to West Africa, and uses a unique combination of influences to embody a living communal tradition that is powerful enough to summon the divine.

 

Mathematics

Writer: Liam Keenan
Faculty Advisor: Julie Rana
Topic: Surfaces in the Boundary of the Compactification of the Moduli Space of Surfaces of General Type
Summary:

 

 

Musicology

Writer: Allison Brooks-Conrad
Faculty Advisor: Erica Scheinberg
Topic: Sounds of the Singing Revolution: Alo Mattison, Popular Music, and the Estonian Independence Movement (1987-1991)
Summary:

 

 

Musicology

Writer: Mikaela Marget
Faculty Advisor: Sonja Downing
Topic: Bali's Forgotten Stepchild: The Cultural and Sonic Vitality of the Modern Balinese Rebab
Summary:

The rebab is one of the only traditional stringed instruments found on the island of Bali, Indonesia. Though it is ever-present in musical ensembles in Bali, the rebab has been consistently overlooked in scholarship of Balinese music by Western ethnomusicologists. Through participant observation, personal interviews, and academic study, I explore the idea that the rebab deserves a place in the scholarship of Balinese music. In this paper, I address differences between Balinese and Javanese rebab playing and construction, I look into the sonic importance of the rebab, I explore why it has been  labeled a “dying instrument”, and I discuss the symbolic and social nature of the rebab as a factor of Balinese individual musicianship, religion, and culture. With this research, I have found that the instrument is vital in many ways to traditional and modern music making in Bali despite lack of academic study.

 

Psychology

Writer: Lauren McLester-Davis
Faculty Advisor: Bruce Hetzler
Topic: The Effect of Methylphenidate and Ethanel on Flash Evoked Potentials, Body Temperature, and Behavior in Long-Evans Rats
Summary:

 

 

 

Psychology

Writer: Cassidy Salentine
Faculty Advisor: Lori Hilt
Topic: Belongingness Mediates the Relationship between Discrimination and Suicidal Behaviors among Sexual and Gender Minority Adults
Summary:

 

Sexual and gender minority adults experience alarmingly high risk for suicide compared to their heterosexual, cisgender counterparts. Experiencing discrimination for sexual or gender identity has been shown to contribute to suicide risk, but the mechanisms that drive this relationship are unknown. The current study incorporates suicide-specific processes outlined by a leading theory of suicide to shed light on the relationship between discrimination and suicide risk. I argue that experiencing more discrimination is associated with higher risk for suicide through the indirect effects of thwarted belongingness and feeling like a burden. A sample of 178 sexual or gender minority-identifying adults completed an anonymous online questionnaire assessing minority-specific stressors and suicide-related thoughts and behaviors. A multiple mediation model was performed to assess the hypothesis. The results indicated that higher rates of discrimination led to higher rates of suicidal behaviors when mediated by higher thwarted belongingness. However, burdensomeness was not a significant mediator. These findings provide further evidence that higher suicide risk among sexual and gender minority individuals is partly explained by discrimination and minority-specific stressors. While the cross-sectional nature of the study prevents causal conclusions, these findings provide important applications to suicide prevention and research for sexual and gender minority-identifying individuals.

 

Theatre Arts

Writer: Channing Tucker
Faculty Advisor: Karin Kopischke
Topic: Constructing the Jigoku Dayū: an Edo Period Uchikake
Summary:

My project is the creation of an uchikake in the style of the Jigoku Dayū, or Hell Courtesan. The Jigoku Dayū is a semi-historical folk figure who was incredibly popular in the art of the Edo Period in Japan. She is most recognized for her uchikake (outer robe) that was decorated with depictions of the Buddhist version of hell. My uchikake is based mostly on the 1840s painting of the Jigoku Dayū by Utagawa Kuniyoshi, but I added elements of other Edo artist’s versions of the uchikake in prints and paintings. The goal of this project was to produce a recognizable and historically accurate interpretation of the Jigoku Dayū uchikake using modern materials and construction methods.

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